Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Perfect Conditions

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”

Honoré de Balzac

Even though I’ve dawdled a lot this morning, I managed to get up at 5:10 and do some writing and reading.  Now it’s time to write my blog and welcome in the new day.  I love being able to wake up like this.  It’s such a privilege and a blessing to start the morning alone and with God.  I have the perfect conditions.
Now all I need to do is start writing. 
I’m still behind on a lot of things that I have committed to do.  I’m still not reading as much as I’d like and when I look at the yearly goals posted on the wall, I can see that I have a lot of work to do.  That’s okay, because I can see that I’m progressing.
How much richer and more interesting my life is since I have begun establishing goals.  I feel far more alive.  I am very excited about my house on the beach and that idea is becoming increasingly concrete.  This morning, in my morning write, I described my house.  It will have at least two bedrooms, preferably three.  I’d like the third bedroom to be a study, a room where I can write.  If I don’t get that, if I get a two-bedroom house instead, then I’ll write on the kitchen table or while sitting in a living-room chair, as I’m doing now.  Conditions don’t need to be perfect.  I need to make conditions perfect by doing my work.
The idea that things have to be perfect before I’ll start doing my work is a trick of the Enemy and I’ve fallen for it an embarrassing number of times.  I have often abandoned my work for the day, because I didn’t have a cup of coffee or because there were outside noise or because I wasn’t sitting in a comfortable chair.  Sometimes it was too hot or too cold.  Other times the weather was too perfect.  Or maybe I needed a nap first.  The truth is, of course, that I was just avoiding my work.
Here are some places I’ve done my best work:
·      Sitting on concrete on a Saturday morning with my back against a wall while waiting for someone
·      Sting in my car, listening to Led Zeppelin to keep from falling asleep so I could finish my writing
·      In a student lounge at UCSD on a rainy Friday afternoon
·      With my headphones on so I could block out screaming babies and yapping dogs
·      When I had a lot of other things to do
·      While being tempted to look at Facebook or check my e-mail
·      While I was sick
·      While writing consistently, no matter what

The only perfect conditions for writing, or for any act of Purpose, are the ones I create.  Almost everything else is an excuse.  This is important to remember.  There will always be reasons to not do my work.  Worse, they will outnumber the reasons for doing my work.  There are really only a few reasons for doing my work:
·      I have to, that is, I am compelled to do it
·      If I don’t do my work, no one else will and then it won’t get done
·      God and my Muse are counting on me
·      I will never feel completely happy, or even a little happy, and certainly not content, if I don’t.

Interestingly, I have had “perfect” conditions in which to write.  Things were quiet.  I didn’t have a lot of obligations or commitments.  I had time. 
I still had to fight the Enemy. 
If one were to look in on me, he or she might see a calm and quiet atmosphere, but there was often an invisible battle being waged.
This battle is being waged every day. It never gets easier.  There’s never a day when I don’t fight myself to sit still and do this work.  There’s rarely a day that I don’t fail.  Still, despite myself, despite my hyperactivity, I have managed to get this done.  And doing it has made me stronger.  Doing this blog has made me stronger.  I was able to Get Started and Keep Going.  I created the perfect conditions.